Compelling parenting question of the day: Cartoon characters

When Lucas showed an early preference for the Muppet Show, I was delighted. I could have hours of the Muppet Show on in the background and not only is it not annoying, but I’d actually enjoy watching it with him.

Sadly, his tastes have taken a turn for the worse. He now loves, unfathomably, Max and Ruby. And Caillou. I don’t think there is a more annoying character in television landscape than Caillou. (Although, I used to hate Wonderpets, too, and that one has grown on me lately.)

Time for a parenting poll: what is the most annoying kids’ TV character? Pedantic Dora? Whinging Caillou? Psychedelic In the Night Garden?

What say ye, oh parents of the boob-tube addicted preschool set?

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

19 thoughts on “Compelling parenting question of the day: Cartoon characters”

  1. My list includes but is not limited to:
    all characters on Yo Gabba Gabba (tho the Jack Black episode was funny),
    In the Night Garden,
    Ruby is annoying and needs to stop bossing her brother around (where are those parents anyway?)

    I’m noticing that most of these are of the Treehouse persuasion. I’m very glad my kids have migrated over to Playhouse Disney. Must less annoying programs on that channel.

  2. DORA! BECAUSE SHE YELLS AT YOU. ALL.THE. TIME! OMG, I hate that show. Max and Ruby bug the crap out of me too. I can actually handle Caillou, but probably because we don’t catch it very often.

  3. I think I’m a little simple minded in that there are very few kids’ shows that annoy me. I worry about Max and Ruby – where are their parents? – but I like that it is a quiet, calm show. I love In The Night Garden – it’s so weird, but so peaceful, especially at bedtime. And yes, Dora yells a lot, but when my three year old says, “Oh, MAN!” I think it’s super cute.

    I even like Caillou. His voice is so grating, but I like the situations on the show. It is one of the very few kids’ shows in which the parents are there, providing guidance, and everyday situations that might actually come up are covered. I like that Caillou is often frustrated or upset and that his parents help guide him to a happier place. I think the kids can really relate.

    One of our favourites is Peep and the Big Wide World. LOVE that show. Lucas should be good and ready for it — find it, all your boys will probably enjoy it and even you will learn some cool stuff about science. It’s funny and wickedly hip.

    I personally find it’s the older shows that annoy me. Spongebob gives me a headache, and now my kids are totally addicted to Wayside – I love those books, but the crazy yelling action of the show is too much. I am OLD.

  4. The most annoying cartoon shows to me are Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, The Mole Sisters, and (though it’s not a cartoon) Yo Gabba Gabba.

    Spongebob drives my husband crazy, but I don’t mind him.

    I hated Toupy and Binoo when I first saw it, but grew to really like it.

    I don’t mind Caillou or Dora all that much.

    The ones my kids watch that I most enjoy are Backyardigans, Dinosaur Train, and Word Girl. The Backyardigans I’ve occasionally watched without my kids when a particular song has been running through my head and I simply MUST hear it.

    I love Peep and the Big Wide World, but could never convince my kids to watch more than a few minutes of it. I think it was too subtle and slow-paced for them.

  5. It has to be BARNEY hands down! God my littles one loved him to death and I despise BARNEY! I can live with Max & Ruby & Caillou but not BARNEY! Kill the dam dinosaur would ya! ha ha ha

  6. Worst show has to be Arthur – he is such a whiny kid….

    Best show has to be Dinosaur Train and I do like Peep and the Big Wide World too……

  7. I don’t enjoy Toopy & Binoo at all, and I was so glad when the girl stopped asking for it. Sadly, she’s re-discovered it and now quotes Toopy and recites entire episode plots regularly. Gah.

  8. Without a doubt, for me, it’s The Wiggles. There’s something about four grown men dressed in identical tight black pants and tight coloured shirts, in their 40’s (with dyed hair) and singing for children that just sends me right OVER. THE. EDGE.

    When I pregnant with the Little Man, the best piece of advice I got was to never let him watch anything I couldn’t stand to watch over and over again myself. That quickly ruled out a lot of things and I’m quite happy with our selection of Thomas the Train, Bob the Builder, Sesame Street (especially the old classics on DVD), Handy Many, Curious George and Mickey’s Clubhouse.

    Caillou, Dora, Diego, Toopy & Binoo, Arthur, and so on drive me nuts.

    I’m in luck most days because after four years of consistent night waking on the part of the boy, I’ve finally put my foot down and dictated no more movies or t.v. unless he stays in his bed. So far we’re batting 1 for 10. I don’t mind a bit.

  9. Caillou. Oh, how I loathe that kid.

    Also, the Doodlebops*shudder*

    It’s funny how we all have preferences – Dora keeps my sanity some days (read: keeps the kids happy) and I LOVE Toupie and Binou! We have the books too 😉

  10. I used to cringe every time I heard Caillou’s voice and a close second was Toopy. Funny, now that my kids watch older shows I kind of miss those shows…a teeny bit.

  11. Caillou, Caillou, Caillou. HATE that show. Was so happy when my younger son outgrew it!! He likes Max & Ruby tho and I *really* think they need to address where their parents are!! Is Ruby a teen mom? Are they in the basement meth lab? Where are they?? And why does Grandma put up with those kids being on their own all the time?

  12. Well, I like The Wonderpets a lot. Max and Ruby make me bananas but M loves ’em so what’s a gal to do? I’m positively smitten with Charlie and Lola and I adore The Mole Sisters. I really enjoy making inappropriate jokes to my husband about Toopy and Binoo so I’d hate to lose that one.


    Caillou is a twerp and his parents are sooo pathetically enabling. The Chipmunks should be roadlkill; and no one, NO ONE, is more annoying than Dora.

  13. I hate, hate, hate: Caillou, Max & Ruby, Martha Speaks, Arthur and Dora. They all need a good smack.

    Love: Backyardigans, Dinosaur Train, Thomas the Tank Engine and Bo On The Go.

    I never thought I’d have a list like this.

  14. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hates Martha Speaks! Caillou and Dora are pretty annoying too. Thankfully my son has never seen Barney (and I intend to keep it that way!).

  15. Without a doubt “In the Night Garden” is the most annoying show I’ve ever had to watch. When my daughter was younger her bed time was dictated by the time that “In the Night Garden” was shown on Treehouse. If it was on at 7:30pm that’s when the bedtime routine would start and the TV would have to be off.

    Regarding Max & Ruby, I think the real reason you don’t see their parents is that they are trying to be somewhat true to form on how rabbits raise their young. Rabbit mothers only visit their child 1 or two times a day to keep them safe from predators. This was something pointed out to me by my wife the wildlife biologist.

    I was super happy when my daughter got old enough to enjoy “Phineas and Ferb” from Disney. It is such a great show that teaches kids about imagination. Plus it is a great representation of a blended family that you don’t see too often on TV.

  16. I’m glad we’re graduating off of Treehouse and on to something more appropriate. Several of the shows annoy me including In The Night Garden, Dragon and Toopy and Binoo. Right now we move between PBS Kids and CBC Kids.

  17. I think it was actually Barney that drove me absolutely crazy!… My kids loved the purple dinosaur once upon a time, but I cringed when the show came on… Especially Baby Bop!…. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    Anyway… Staying with the kids cartoon theme, several months ago, I was working on a product design concept, and through that process came up with the evolution of a unique new children’s cartoon series. Slowly it has evolved into a very interesting project, but I now find myself trying to navigate through very unfamiliar territory in attempting to move the process forward.

    Fast forward to today and here I am still trying to piece together this socially responsible childrens animated TV series, and I am still in need of some advice from anyone who has a background in the realm of childrens animation and production.

    If anyone has some expertise in the field, I invite you to critique “Hector The Friendly Collector.”

    I would definitely appreciate any feedback, comments or suggestions (good, bad, or indifferent).

    Thank you.

    “Hectors Creator” (Marty)

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